Polynesian Society (N.Z.).

The journal of the Polynesian Society online

. (page 24 of 26)
Online LibraryPolynesian Society (N.Z.)The journal of the Polynesian Society → online text (page 24 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Bind firmly Bongo,
Bind them.

* The stage on which offering were made to the Ariki.

Digitized by



Thy hips were out in two,
Thy hips were bornt,
. Thy hips were eaten going along
On the high food-stage of Tane ;
Bind firmly Bongo,
Bind them.

The woman listened to catch the words, and then returned to her
and Turi's house, and said to him : '* I have been listening to the
pu-maire of Uenuku.** Turi said to her : ** Let me hear the words ! "
Then Bongorongo repeated the words which she had heard, at which
Turi exclaimed : ** Oh ! It is the sin at Awarua ! '* He knew at once
it was intended to kill him, his children, and his people (Turi's
children, bom in Hawaiki, were Turanga-i-mua, Tane-roa — a female—
and Potiki-roa).

Turi also knew that in the end they would be defeated by the
Tini-o-Uenuku tribe. He therefore decided to send for the ** Aotea "
canoe, belonging to his father-in-law Toto, as a way of escape for him
and his relatives (by migrating). He then took a valuable dog-skin
cloak — a double one — the name of which was Potaka-tawhiti. There
had been eight dog skins used in making this cloak, the names of the
dogs being : —

Potaka-tawhiti Kakariki-tawhiti

Pakeko-whata-rangi Miti-mai-te-rangi

Whakapapa-tnakura Nuku-te-apiapi

Matawari-te-hnia Miti-mai-te-paru

Turi gave the cloak to his wife, Bongorongo, and said: *'Go!
seek a way for us with Toto ! " So the woman went to her father, to
Toto, and said to him : *' I came to fetch a canoe for us.** The father
asked: "Are you departing (from here)?" to which Rongorongo
replied : '' Yes ; we are going to abandon this land." Enough, the
old man gave '* Aotea " as a canoe for his daughter and her husband,
whilst she presented him with the dog-skin cloak, called Potiki-
tawhiti, such a present being called an utu-matua. Some of Toto's
other canoes were given to his other daughters.

[It is nothing uncommon for a Polynesian to retain correctly the
whole of the words of a long karakia, or song, at first hearing. The
powers of memory in a race in the same culture stage as they, are very
astonishing to us, who habitually use artificial memories in the shape
of writing. So there is nothing wonderful in Bongorongo retaining
the words of the incantation. The *' sin at Awarua" {te hara i
Awarua) is very often alluded to in native songs. It refers here to
Uenuku's defeat at Turi's hands, but I am inclined to think it really
originated at the great division between Eastern and Western
Polynesians already referred to. The Ba'iatea account of Toto —
which I learned from a very well-informed woman of that island, at

Digitized by



Tahiti — is, that he was a man possessed of many canoes, much land,
and great power. The publication of the names of the dogs from
whose skins this celebrated cloak was made will clear tip many obscure
references in old Maori songs.]

'* Tnri now made preparations for his departure, that is, for his
voyage to New Zealand. In consequence of the many things with
which the canoe was freighed, she is known as ** the richly laden
Aotea." The other canoes had all assembled at the landing place ;
** Te Arawa," belonging to Whakaoti-rangi (another of Toto's
daughters), and all were laden for the voyage. At this time the
learned man Kauika also joined the canoe ; he was a tohunga, or priest,
by profession ; he joined Turi, and became the director of her course,
by means of his karakias. The following are the names of those men
(besides women and children) who came in '' Aotea " : —

Tnri (captain)

Kauika (piiest)


Tuau (priest)












Te Kahui-kau

Te Kabul -kotare

Te Kahui-po

The tribes represented by these men were : — Ngati-Bongotea,
Ngati-Kahu, NgatiBangi, Ngati-Tai, and Ngati-Eauika.

There were many tribes on board '* Aotea " {i.e., ancestors of
tribes now in existence), some of which are not now known, but some
of them are : — Ngati-Ruanni, Nga-Bauru, Whanganui, Ngati-Apa,
Mua-upoko, and others (all well-known Cook Strait tribes).

Now, there was another canoe also, named ** Kura-haupo,*' the
former name of which was " Tarai-po,*' and Ruatea was her captain,
but that canoe was wrecked at Rangi-tahua, and Ruatea, Hatonga,
and others of her crew came on board " Aotea.** On the voyage of
" Aotea ** and ** Kura-haupo ** they landed at this island. But as
they did so the "Kura-haupo** was wrecked, and sunk in the sea.
The crew and their possessions were taken on board " Aotea.*' After
they had landed on the island, Turi set up his altar and made his
sacrifice to the gods — there were two dogs offered in sacrifice, one
alive, the other cooked. It was in consequence of this sacrifice
(tahua) that the island was named Rangi-tahua (place, or day of
sacrifice), and the place where " Kura-haupo '* was wrecked was called
Te-Au-o-kura. Before that time this island had no name. Through
this wreck also arose the name " The-richly-laden-Aotea,** because the
cargo of ** Kura-haupo '* was added to that of ** Aotea,** t.^., men,
goods, gods, history, food and other things.

[It seems from this story that the other canoes of the fleet came to
Ra'iatea (Rangi-atea) and started for New Zealand about the same
time. It is highly probable that the news of the migratory expedition

Digitized by



to New Zealand had spread from Tahiti to Ba^atea, for the islands are
only 140 miles apart, and that this news, coming just at the time of
Turi*s anticipated trouble with Uenuku, would act as an incentive to
him and his party to emigrate also. The course these canoes would
take from Tahiti to Rarotonga would be via Ba'iatea, in order to be
more certain of the direction, and as a resting place on the long
voyage. It is clear, however, that ** Aotea '* either did not start from
Ba'iatea with the others or that she separated from the fleet on the
way, for her name is not known at Rarotonga, whilst those of the other
six canoes forming the fleet are preserved there. It appears certain that
all the navigators of the canoes knew where they were going, and also
the direction in which to steer with considerable accuracy, and I feel
sure that Rangi-tahua island had been appointed a rendezvous on the
way, it being just in the course from Rarotonga to the northern parts
of New Zealand, that is, if Rangi-tahua is Sunday Island, which there
are strong reasons for believing to be the case, though it would take
too long to state them here.

In this account we have the definite statement made that the
'* Eura-haupo " canoe was wrecked at Rangi-tahua, which confirms the
Taranaki account published in this Journal, vol. ii., p. 189, with this
difference, that the latter story says that the wreck took place at
Hawaiki. It seems more probable it took place at Rangi-tahua, for
the '^ Eura-haupo *' called in with the fleet at Rarotonga. The crew of
** Kura-haupo " seem to have been distributed between the ** Aotea **
and ^*- Mata-atua ** canoes and came on with them to New Zealand.
Other accounts say that this wrecked canoe was subsequently repaired
and followed the fleet to New Zealand. With respect to the names of
the people who came in the canoe, those commencing with Eahui, are
families. When members of the same family bear the same name
(like our surnames) they are alluded to as Eahui. Bee the genealogy
at the end of this paper.]

** The following was Turi's * outfit ' on board the * Aotea ' ** : —

Turi'8 paddle was named ... Te Roku-o-Whiti

„ spear „ „ ... Te Anewa-o-te-rangi

„ bailer „ „ ... Te Birino-o-te-rangi

„ axe „ „ ... Te Awbio-rangi.

The gods that were brought over in ** Aotea '* were : —


Te Ihinga-o-te-rangi



The minor gods were : —


Digitized by



The mdna brought over in ** Aotea " were : —




These were all stones, called wkatu, such as were made by the men
of old, and much carved and very precious.

The ** tipuas '* (monsters of the sea) that aided ** Aotea " on her
course were four in number : —


These were the helpers of ** Aotea" on the breaking waves of ocean,
as they came across the great Deep.

[Turi's paddle is said to have been in existence quite recently. But
it appears doubtful if any wooden object would remain intact for over
500 years, unless some extraordinary care were taken in preserving it.
At the present day in Polynesia, paddles are usually made of Hau
(the Hibiscus), which is a perishable wood. Arms were usually made
of Toa {Casuarina)y a much harder and more durable wood. The
names of Turi's '* outfit '* are interesting, as indicating the common
practice of all Polynesians to give names to their personal belongings,
which were often in addition endowed by them with supernatural
powers. The translation of the names may be given as follows : —
The padd]e=** The extinction of Fiji '*; the 8pear=" The paralyzing
power of Heaven'*; the bailer=**The Maelstrom of Heaven;" the
axe=** The encircler of Heaven." There is a very interesting history
attached to this axe, which is still in possession of the Nga-Rauru
tribe, but hidden away in a secret place only known to a few. It is
too tapu for any white man to see. In the appendix hereto, will be
found an account of the finding of this illustrious axe.

The gods brought over were probably in the form of smaU idols
such as are figured in the " Internationales Archiv fiir Ethnographie,"
Bd. xii., 1899, the originals of which came from the Taranaki coast.
None of Turi's atuas are of the supreme rank, but are tribal
gods ; Maru, however, is known to the Hawaiians, which is an
additional proof of the connection between that people and the
Maoris, which is otherwise clear from common ancestry.

The ma *a, brought by Turi, were hollow stones called whatu, which
were carved and ornamented, and were highly treasured as representing
a link between their old home and their new one.*

jThe tipuas cannot exactly be said to be '* guardian angels," but

* Vide this Journal, vol. iii, p. 39.

Digitized by



are rather monsters of the deep, familiar spirits of the great ones of
old, that were amenahle to karakia and supposed to assist their
masters. Amongst these we find Toi-te-huatahi, an ancestor of

Every tribe had an ** Awa,** or karakia^ for calming the sea, and
securing prosperity for the voyage. The following is that for the
'' Aotea *' canoe, when she started on her long voyage of some 2500
miles. In this and the karakias to follow I have done my best to
render them into English, but many parts are obscure, and it is not
unlikely I have sometimes quite missed the meaning the old Tohungas
had in their minds, and, moreover, the meaning of words has probably
changed since they were composed.]

The Awa of " Aotea.**

'' Aotea '* is the oanoe,
Tari is the man on board,
Te Boku-o-whiti is the paddle.

Close to the side, the paddle,
Encircle the side, the paddle,
Forward, standing, the paddle,
Forward, flying, the paddle.
Forward, springing, the paddle,
Forward, flapping, the paddle.

The paddle 1 ap is the paddle, O Bang! I

The paddle of whom ?

*Tis the paddle of Te Ean-nnniii,

The paddle of whom ?

'Tis the paddle of Te Eaa-roroa—

The paddle of Great Heavens above.

Now the (coarse of the) oanoe rests

On Tipoa-o-te-rangi —

On Tawhito-o-te-rangi—

On the plaoe of Behna's* eyes

Horizontal will I place the handle

Of my paddle, Te Boka-o-whiti,

To cross over, rattling along.

To fly along, rattling along.

To be light, rattling along.

The ap-rising, the up-lifting.

The thrusting in, the dragging hither.

The whirling, the taming round.

Of the spray of the water,

Of this paddle of mine.

Like the far-ofiF sky,

Like the uplifted sky,

Like the great expanse of Tu,

Now does the way part.

The way of this first-bom chief,

* Behua, said to be the star Antares, and by which the canoe stee. hI her
coarse until Tawera, the moming star, appeared.


Digitized by



The way of this seoiion of a tribe.

The way of Great Heaven above.

Name the handle of my paddle, then,

(ilfter) Eautu-ki-te-rangi.*

'Tifl the Heavens elevated.

'Tis the Heavens uplifted.

'Tis the Heavens that stretch thither.

'Tis the Heavens that extend hither.

'Tis the Heavens where stands Dread.

'Tis the Heavens where stands the thrust. f

'Tis the Heavens where stands the power.

'Tis the Heavens where stands the topu.

Be saoredl

Now does the way part,

The way of Tane-matohe-nuku,}

The way of Tane-matohe-rangi,}

The way of the Eau-nunui,§

The way of the Kau-roroa,§

The way of this chief.

The way of the great Heavens above,

Hold on (the course) to Behua— 1|

To the son in the world of light,

O Bongo-ma-Tane I IT ^

Lift her up. Hoe !

The following is for Turi's spear : —

Aotea is the canoe,
Turi is the man,
Anewa-i-te-rangi is the apear.

Upraise the spear (to strike),

Guard with the spear,

Thy angry face.

Thy pounded face.

Thy slit face.

Thy riven face,

Bzhibit (the powers of i^ man,

Gk> and search for water

It wells up I
By thy calm seas,

Bise to the surface by thy reddish sea,
Tangaroal be with me.

* The name of one of the paddles used in one of the famous canoes that
brought their ancestors to Hawaiki-Bangiatea.

t i.e.. Spear thrust of Heaven ; eyn : for calamity

{ Tane — Splitter, or Separator of Heaven and Earth, which action he did,
according to Maori mythology : used here symbolically for the canoe.

S Eau here appears to be the obsolete word for ** company," hence the mean-
ings The great ones of old, the mighty ones of old.

II A god, a star; said to be Antares.

IF Here we have the double form of Tane and Bongo, so frequent in Baro-
tongan traditions.

Digitized by



Toris's tapuae* : for his canoe, for *' Aotea/' to hasten the
speed : —

Beoite.the tapu<u of my oanoe,

Stretch forth, away,

The tapuae of my oanoe,

Let her stand ap, let her move,

Be moved by whom ?

Moved by the bird —

My Mana*te*hatihati,t

With outstretcbed wings to fly.

Spread out the wings of my bird to a distance ;

A male!

And so, the canoe ** Aotea '* came away. When they had reached
mid ocean, PotoniJ said to Tori, ** Turi I direct the bows of the
canoe to the sun-set.'* Potoru's place was in the bows of the canoe,
whilst Turi*s was at the stern, together with Tuan and Kauika (the
priests). Turi said to Potoru, *' No ! let us steer for the sunrise."
But Potoru insisted that they should go towards the sunset, and in
consequence strife took place as to the pfoper direction for their canoe
to steer, which after a long time was settled as Potoru insisted, and
hence, their canoe went straight to the Tautope-ki-te-um, where she
began to sink to Te Eorokoro-o-te-Parata. Eight thwarts of the
canoe were under water. Turi thought they would all be lost ; then
he arose and withdrew his canoe, thus : —

Karakia, to withdraw the ** Aotea " from the depths—
This is my prayer (incantation)


(Dwelling) above on the source of squally winds,

1 will shoulder my axe,
Named Awhio-rangi, Wai-o-rua,
Betumed up above,
Returned down below.

To the world of being

To the world of light,

Maru t open up (the leaves)

Tangaroa ! withdraw her !

Great ocean waves that stand there,

Give us thy help.

Keep close to me here,

Thou ridge of land that stands there,

Give us your help,

Keep close to me here,

Be near to me here.

* A tapuae is a karakia to hasten the footsteps (tapttae) of one in chase of an
enemy, or of one being chased- -here applied to hasten the progress of the canoe
across the ocean.

t A frequent expression in karakias, sometimes Bianu-te-kutikuti, but pro-
bably expressive of speed, as in the rapid descent of the gannet after its prey with
closed IkuHkuti) wings.

* Potoru was said by my informant to be a man of a different tribe to Turi.

Digitized by



Then Turi seized the hailer, named Te Ririno-o-te-rangi, and up-
lifted his karalda : —

I will uplift my bailer now.

The Birino-o-te-rangi,

To the extreme limits of the heavens,

To the girdle of the heavens,

To the stability of the heavens,

To the resting place of heaven,

Adhere to the foundation of heaven.

Adhere to the summit of heaven,

Affix it to Great Heaven above,

The uprising, the uplifting,

The insertion, the bailing out,

Of the water of my canoe.

Dry up to above,

Dry up to below.

Dry up to seaward,

To the Great Heavens above.

The bailer ; the Tipua-horo-nuku,

There stands th^ deep blue ocean.

There stands the reddish ocean,

There stands the breaking ocean.

There stands the surging ocean.

There stands the ruddy shore,

Houra,* do you,

Dry up,

The water of my canoe,

Houra, do you

Dry up.

Dry up that colored water,

Of my canoe here,

Houra, do yon

Dry op,

The sky of Tawhiri-mateaf at sea —

Of Tu-Baka-maomaoJ

Strike the prow of the canoe

Dry up effectually

The sea to Hawaiki.

A-fter this the water in the canoe arose out of her. Then Tori felt
quite sure that Potoru intended to kill him (by advising the course
which led them to disaster). So he caught Potoru and cast him into
the water. Hence is (the expression) Hurihanga (the capsizing, over-
turning). When he sank in the water came the expression Tapo^ and
the emergence to the surface was called Maiea (emergence). § When
Maru (the god) saw this, he flew on to the man floating along on the
water, that is, to save him, at the same time calling out to Turi :

* Said to be a man's name.

t God of gales and tempests.

I God of ordinary winds.

§ It is said that all these names were applied to Potoru subsequently.

Digitized by



" Tama ra ! Tama ra ! hold fast there ; take me on board the drifting
plank < Aotea.* Take me with you, put me on board, help me in ; let
us direct our canoe by the great-eyed star, and it will not be long on
the rising of the grimacing child (the star) that we shall reach the
main land." So Potoru and the god were taken on board the
" Aotea " again. It was through the god that Turi consented to take
them on board. Through this incident arose the saying : '' The strife
of Potoru " (often applied to an obstinate person : Ka tohe hoe i nga
tohe a Potoru !"

[From the other accounts of ** Aotea's " voyage it appears that the
disaster she met with was after they had left Bangi-tahua Island,
which is believed to be Sunday Island. It would seem from the fact
that Turi desired to sail towards the sun-rise, that he was apprehensive
they had made too much westing already to stjrike New Zealand. In
consequence, however, of Potoru's insistance on a westerly course, they
met with the disaster, and came near sinking at Te Tai-tope-ki-te-uru,
which name may be translated '* The-sea-cut-off-(or sinking)-to-the-
west.'* I would suggest that from the course apparently taken that
they fell in with the Minerva reef, and were nearly lost on it. Some
of the expressions in the ktrakia seem rather to favour their being near
land, and the Minerva reef is dry at low water. The other name, Te
Eorokoro-o-Te-Parata — the throat of Te-Parata — is possibly only
emblematical for the dangerous place they had gotten to, and is
probably far more ancient than the fourteenth century. According to
Maori story, Te Parata is the name of a monster that dwells in a
certain part of the ocean, and by the inhaling and exhaling of whose
breath the tides are caused. The scene with Potoru and the god Maru
going to his assistance is very peculiar. Quite possibly, as so often
was the case, one of the two priests was possessed of the power of
ventriloquism, and thus pretended that the god Maru, which he repre-
sented, or was the medium of, spoke through Potoru as he was in the
water. The ** great eyed star" is said to refer to the morning star,
by which Turi was advised to direct his course to ensure making land
quickly, which again seems to indicate the possibility of the canoe
having got too far to the westward and that they had to steer S.E.
to make the coast, which they did on the west side of New Zealand,
not on the east as the other canoes did ; but the detail of all this is

Turi now continued his tapuae to hasten the progress of *' Aotea *'
towfiurds the land : —

Bear up, lift up,

Arrange* the tapwae.

Fly like feathers,

* Rangaranga^ literally to weave ; often so used in the sense of pomposin^ q^
arranging the words of a song, karakiat etc.

Digitized by



Sail M a bird,

Sail oontinaotisly.

It stands, it moyes,

It slides, it slips along.

The son goes on

To hit main land.

Dead is the son

Of the nautilus*

We have come forth

To Tama-hoko-tahi ;

To the surface.

To the world of being,

To the world of light.

Proceed I O Tanewaka If

With thy saving prayer to the land,

To the firm land ashore.

To the firm-standing mountains ashore,

To the stable land ashore,

To the Ano-a-Tu ashore.

We land I we land I ashore.

We land 1 we land I by the.sea,

We land 1 we land in this strange country.

To climb mountains, be strong !

To climb cliffs, be strong !

Thy safety, thy lord,

Thou Shalt eat

The heart of this stranger.

Enough I Turi and his canoe reached the land ; they landed
between Eawhia and Aotea, hence the name Aotea, deriyed from the
canoe. The canoe was hauled up, the bow being towards the sea, the
stem inland. Then they proceeded to Whaka-awhiawhif the crew and
the canoe, and hence is the name Ea-\vhia (i.e., Ka-awkta, from
awhiav hiy a ceremony which appears to be used to destroy any evil
influences that may exist in the strange country. The kara/da for this
purpose was repeated to me, but being very tapu^ the reciter would not
consent to its being written.)

They had now arrived at Aotea-roa (New Zealand). Then Tun
and the rest of them came along (southwards) overland. It was Turi
who gave names to several places along the coast, such as Mokau,
Ure-nui, Wai-tara, Mangati, Oakura (where Hunakiko, the sacred
stone was exhibited), Wai-ngongoro and other places, right on to
Patea, which he called Great-Patea-of-Turi.

Earaka seed (brought with them) were planted there, and the
place was named Pou-o-Turi. Then they settled down and there was
built the house Matangi-rei, on this (south) side of Patea, at Bangi-
tawhi (not far from the Railway Station). After this he made his

* Said to apply to Potorn.

t Emblematical for the canoe as a child of Tane, god of trees, probably ; but
said to be an address to Tuau, one of the priests, to reoitebis kairakia,

Digitized by



miltiyation near Bangi-tSwhi and named it Hekeheke-i-papa. Turi!s
spade was named Tupa-i-whenua. When the field was planted with
kumaras, there were eight hillocks in each of which was set a seed-
kumara. When autumn came and the food was harvested, there were
eight hundred baskets of kumaras,

[The story of Turi bringing with him the seed of the karaka tree
{Coryinocarpus Icevigata) has been used by Europeans to discredit the
tradition of Turi, for it grows nowhere else in the world but in the
colony of New Zealand (which includes Chatham and Eermadec
Islands) but if Bangi-tahua is Sunday Island, and if this was the
island at which the '* Aotea " canoe called, they would find the karaka
tree growing there, and the fruit being new to them, doubtless they
brought some of the seed on with them and planted it, notwithstandii^
that the tree is indigenous to New Zealand.]

" It is enough ! Turi and his children dwelt at their home at
Bangi-t&whi, where his child Tonga-potiki was bom, as alluded to in
this old song : —

Where was set up his house,
Named Matangirei,
Above at Bangi-tawhi,
Where Tonga-potiki was bom,
Bom there.

Turanga-i-mua and Tane-roa were bom in Hawaiki, whilst (Tun's
other son) Tu-taua was bom at sea, hence his name Tu-taua the-sea-

Turi lived to be an old man, and then he departed and died at some

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 26

Online LibraryPolynesian Society (N.Z.)The journal of the Polynesian Society → online text (page 24 of 26)